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Ravens Insider: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson the favorite to win NFL MVP after win over 49ers and Brock Purdy


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In a battle of the NFL’s top teams and the league’s top candidates for its annual Most Valuable Player Award, the Ravens and Lamar Jackson beat the San Francisco 49ers and Brock Purdy, 33-19, on Christmas night. And to the victor go the spoils.

While Purdy entered Monday night’s game the betting favorite to win his first career MVP award, the second-year quarterback threw four interceptions and was outplayed by Jackson, who finished 23 of 35 passing for 252 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a team-leading 45 yards. As a result, most sportsbooks now list Jackson as the favorite to win his second MVP award.

“I thought Lamar had an MVP performance tonight,” said coach John Harbaugh, who gave Jackson the game ball in the locker room after Monday’s win as teammates serenaded him with “MVP” chants. “It takes a team to create a performance like that, but it takes a player to play at that level — to play at an MVP level — it takes a player to play that way. And Lamar was all over the field doing everything.”

It would be quite the accomplishment for the 26-year-old quarterback, who emerged from a tumultuous offseason with a five-year, $260 million contract just months after requesting a trade from the team that drafted him in the first round in 2018 and helped him become just the second unanimous NFL MVP winner following a record-setting 2019 season.

“I really don’t care about [my] performance,” Jackson said. “I just want to win, and that’s what happened tonight. On Christmas, that was my gift. They asked me in an interview a couple weeks ago, ‘What would I want for Christmas?’ My wish got granted.”

Still, winning a second MVP award, which is given by the Associated Press after balloting by a nationwide panel of media, would put Jackson in rare company. Only 10 players — running back Jim Brown and quarterbacks Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes — have won multiple MVP awards during their careers since the honor was first presented in 1957. Manning (five), Rodgers (four), Brady (three), Favre (three), Unitas (three) and Brown (three) are the only players to win three or more.

Through 15 games, Jackson’s statistical case is not overwhelming, as he ranks 17th in the league in passing yards (3,357) and is tied for 18th in touchdown passes (19) while fumbling 11 times and throwing seven interceptions. But he remains the league’s best running quarterback, rushing for a team-leading 786 yards and five scores, and has helped lead the Ravens to an NFL-best 12-3 record and the top seed in the AFC with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

While Jackson has been supported by an elite defense, he lost top running back J.K. Dobbins to a torn Achilles tendon in Week 1, three-time Pro Bowl tight end and favorite target Mark Andrews to an ankle injury in Week 11 and speedy rookie running back Keaton Mitchell to a season-ending knee injury in Week 15, all while learning a new offense under first-year coordinator Todd Monken. The Ravens still entered Monday ranked top-five in the league in both yards (372.1) and points (27.8) per game.

“Anyone that watches football and knows football and [can] see the type of impact he has on the game — not even stat-wise, but just individually, the plays that he makes quarter in and quarter out, play in and play out,” middle linebacker Roquan Smith said. “Compare his film to anyone else in the league. Then, I would love to hear what anyone else has to say after that.”

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) avoids the grasp of...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) avoids the grasp of San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) as offensive tackle Morgan Moses (78) blocks during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates with wide receiver...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates with wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) after connecting on a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, right, throws to ball while...

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, right, throws to ball while trying to avoid San Francisco 49ers defensive end Chase Young during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. Jackson was called for intentional grounding in the end zone on the play, which scored a safety for the 49ers. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

  • Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson (8) eludes a sack attempt by...

    Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson (8) eludes a sack attempt by San Francisco 49ers' Ji'Ayir Brown (27) during an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. (Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

  • Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens walks off the...

    Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens walks off the field after his team's 33-19 win against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on Dec. 25, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

  • Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson speaks at a news conference after...

    Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson speaks at a news conference after Monday night's win against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California. (Jed Jacobsohn/AP)

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